So we've left Thailand for our life in Bangkok. It was easy. Everything we own fits in two backpacks so it was just a matter of booking tickets, packing and getting a taxi to the airport. Leaving was easy, but it took us some time to decide where we wanted to go. Asia is big, and so we had a lot of options. We wanted to find a place that would match all our needs and expectations, the perfect destination for my digital nomad lifestyle and a good start for Kristina’s new (temporary) teaching career. Hanoi attracted us… From the start it felt like it was pulling us in like a magnet, the perfect logical next step in our journey, but we also had to think of cost of living, safety, surrounding areas, visas – even if in the end it was more about our feelings and choosing a place that felt right for us. Visas rules – or the lack of them… I’m really looking forward to the day when Asian countries will issue a special digital nomad visa. I’m … [Read more...] about Why we chose to move to Hanoi
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VietNamNet Bridge – Duong was 18 and looking forward to seeing a new place and meeting new people when she set out with her aunt Mai and Mai's boyfriend Lap to see his parents in Vinh Phuc Province. For a Dao minority girl from the rural district of Yen Binh in Yen Bai Province, it was like travelling into another country, and she was excited. Little she did know that she was in fact travelling to another country. It was July 2010. Instead of Vinh Phuc Province, Duong and Mai were taken to China. Duong was sold to a brothel and Mai was sold to a Chinese man who forced her to be his wife. More than a year later, Duong managed to flee and return home, but she'd been traumatised by the sexual exploitation she'd been subjected to in China. She had no job and no money. She was very sad, and did not know how to reintegrate into the community. She thought of getting some kind of vocational training, but she had no money and her parents would not let her go anywhere far away from … [Read more...] about Slavery victims face rocky road to recovery
by Nguyen Ngoc Tu Unlike others who usually named their children after famous film stars or outstanding singers, Uncle Doi* called his two daughters Nhu** and Y**. Nhu was now ten years old and Y was eight, but people still commented on their names. "Sheer nonsense! What made-up names," one of his neighbours remarked. "What's wrong with them?" he retorted proudly with a broad smile, making his moustache move gently. Glancing at his face, nobody realised that he was blind, for he always had a calm and untroubled air. Every day, he took the four-member clan through Cu Market, across Nhum Bridge, then wandered around the area all day long. Their working day usually started early in the morning and ended late in the evening. Leading the group was Nhu with a loudspeaker in one hand. In the other, she held a rope connected to her father's guitar to control his clumsy movements. Walking by her side was little Y, who sold passers-by lottery tickets to earn money. In wrinkled clothes with … [Read more...] about Everything to his liking?
Nong Thi Tuoi, 16, in the northern province of Cao Bang, had to leave school to look after her five younger brothers and sisters. She is one of millions in the nation cursed by inequality and male violence in an outdated patriarchal system. Ha Nguyen reports Many girls in her remote commune drop out of school, either to do housework or get married at a very young age, said Nong Thi Tuoi said. "It's tradition. However, many of them go on to lead a terrible life of being heavily beaten by their husbands." The 16-year-old, who lives in the northern province of Cao Bang's Nguyen Binh District, had to drop out of school in third grade to help her parents do housework and look after her five younger brothers and sisters. While her parents sent her two younger brothers to school, saying they would need knowledge in order to have families in the future, they did not view her education as a priority. "I liked going to school very much, but we are very poor," Tuoi said. "My parents are … [Read more...] about Gender equality key to nation’s progress
Ly Vo Phu Hung specialises in photographing actors, singers and models. He is noted for his portraits that capture his subject's very essence. It is said that anyone who appears in one of his photographs will inevitably become famous one day. Hung talks with reporter Hong Nga about his career. Inner Sanctum: You are not only the regular photographer of many musicians and cinema and stage actors, but also their close friends. How do you come to understand their unique states of mind so that each photo won't repeat the previous one? To understand states of mind, I first watch a performance to get a feel for the basic points of strength of the artist. I learn which genre of music a singer performs best or what kind of character an actor most successfully portrays. Only with these conditions can I express one's personality and state of mind via photography. Every year, I seem to take different photos of my same subjects. One year, they might be wearing a certain kind of clothing or … [Read more...] about To reveal the mien, capture the eyes